Family caregivers agree on one thing…
They’re there to help their parents with as many care tasks as their parents need. For some family caregivers, daily visits are a must. Others stop by for full weekends to help with meals, cleaning, laundry, and companionship.
If you’re a family caregiver, you probably focus more on your parents than yourself. That’s normal. It’s also one of the ways that carers end up burning out and feeling helpless. Change these three things right now to prevent excessive stress.
Not Finding Joy During Daily Routines
Find a way to laugh or feel joyful each day. Put on a comedy movie with your mom and dad. Laughter really is the best medicine. It helps reduce stress and angst. It helps you become energized and ready for the next tasks on your list.
You can find laughter in many situations. If you don’t have time for a full movie, put on some videos of babies laughing. That is certain to get you and your parents smiling. Go outside and build snowmen together and have competitions to see who can make theirs the tallest or smallest. Just have fun and you’ll experience joy.
Eating in a Rush
It’s easy to get so caught up in chores that you haven’t even thought about dinner. You’re driving back to your house and stop for fast food to save time. It’s empty calories that you shouldn’t rely on.
You need to make sure your meals at home are nutritious. Keep cooked brown rice, barley, and quinoa on hand. On busy days, you can reheat the grain in a microwave, top it with some raw vegetables, diced chicken breast or cooked shrimp, and a dressing like lemon-garlic tahini or hummus. It’s fast but nutritious.
Never Taking Time Off
When was the last time you took a break? It doesn’t have to be a long vacation. The break could be an afternoon off to nap and watch movies. You could have a few hours to go hiking or meet friends for coffee.
If you don’t take time off to care for yourself, you need to. Arrange to have an agency send caregivers to take over while you get away for a bit. Drive to the beach and walk along the shore. Go window shopping with your sister. Stay home and catch up on that bestselling novel you haven’t had time to read.
Caregivers are an important part of your self-care goals. Don’t overlook your own needs for relaxation, socialization, and time to yourself.